Q: I’ve been staying at my mother’s apartment, temporarily. She and her neighbor, across the hall, both in their 80’s, were
cordial, but not close. It was revealed, without a doubt, this neighbor placed a false complaint to the state’s elderly abuse hotline naming me as the culprit. Last week, we woke early to welcome a caseworker and police investigator into the apartment. They both explained,“we get many calls out of retaliation or misunderstanding”. I had no idea what was occurring. The “caller” obviously must be mentally or physically ill, to make such a complaint. However, both my mother and I remain mortified and embarrassed. My mother is furious and wants to move. This situation could have gone seriously wrong. Do we have any type of recourse? Is there anything I should do to protect myself in the future? I believe the case is closed, unfortunately it’s invading my thoughts and keeps me awake at night. Do you have advice? Thank you
A: A Maine attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. In a general textbook sense, it's possible the situation could be characterized as one involving defamation, where false statements result in someone suffering damages to their dignitary interests. But from a practical standpoint, law firms could be reluctant to handle such situations on a contingency basis in the same manner as they would physical injury cases such as car accidents (aside from the issue of how certain torts are defined in Maine - tort causes of action are not necessarily defined by the same textbook elements nationwide - only a local attorney could advise meaningfully there). I'm sorry for the ordeal this has caused you. One option is reach out to Maine attorneys who would be in a better position to outline your options, and how practical or feasible those options would be. Good luck
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